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Sichuan Gourmet - Billerica vs. Sichuan Garden - Woburn

nasilemak Feb 5, 2010 06:38 AM

Which of the two would you recommend for a chinese new year celebration dinner? Or is it too close to call?

  1. MC Slim JB Feb 5, 2010 08:28 AM

    They both serve what feels like very traditional Sichuan food to me (if you order off the right menu). While Garden is more comfortable and has a full bar, I think the food at Gourmet is a notch up.


    11 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB
      lipoff Feb 5, 2010 10:52 AM

      I agree with MC Slim 100%. I like them both, but I think Sichuan Gourmet has a slight edge just on the food. The Sichuan Garden menu is also expansive, and has some non-overlapping dishes. In particular, I find the depth of flavor in the sauces in Sichuan Gourmet to be among the very best that I've ever experienced. I find the Sichuan Garden sauces to be very good, but a little "flatter", although still satisfyingly fiery hot. I know some people disagree and I doubt you'd have a poor experience at either place. The one meal I had at the Woburn location was better than any of the many I'd had at their Brookline location. I still give the nod to either Sichuan Gourmet location though. Fuloon's Sichuan offerings are equally good in my mind, although they have a much more limited selection of just Sichuan food, since they have authentic dishes from other regional cuisines.

      1. re: lipoff
        hargau Feb 5, 2010 11:05 AM

        Now you guys have me thinking of going to SGourmet tonight!

        1. re: lipoff
          MC Slim JB Feb 5, 2010 11:45 AM

          I think the Woburn outlet of the Garden is much better than the Brookline Village one.


        2. re: MC Slim JB
          Spike Feb 5, 2010 11:32 AM

          Unless you tell the Sichuan Garden chef to stop being a girl and make it extra spicy, Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica is better (if you like spicy food :-)

          1. re: Spike
            justbeingpolite Feb 5, 2010 01:18 PM

            Now you've got me needing takeout from the Gourmet tonight! Anyone have a thought on this question: do you prefer the dry chicken with chili sauce or the Old Sichuan Chicken? Also, which dish with spicy chili sauce do you like best. I've been leaning towards beef myself recently, but can be swayed.

            1. re: justbeingpolite
              hargau Feb 5, 2010 01:42 PM

              The old sichuan and the dry are basically the same flavor but the old Sichuan comes with a sort of slaw on the side and has much larger chunks of chicken. We actually prefer the smaller bits in the dried. More flavor to chicken ration.

              As for the X in spicy chili sauce dish (the one served in the huge bowl over cabbage), we have had them all. Our favorite is the fish.

              1. re: hargau
                justbeingpolite Feb 5, 2010 02:03 PM

                Thanks, hargau. That was my take on the chicken dishes, too.
                I'll have to try the fish. Do you prefer the whole fish or filets?
                Have you tried the Jin Gu fish? Is it much hotter? I like hot, but if it's a lot hotter than the X in spicy chili sauce, I'm not sure it's worth the suffering.

                1. re: justbeingpolite
                  hargau Feb 5, 2010 03:01 PM

                  We like the filets. I have not tried the Jin Gu one yet. I forget which one we got last time but it was served in a shallow metal bowl with celery under it. The fish in spicy chili sauce is also filets. They use sole for the filets and tilapia for the whole fish dishes. Im not a big tilapia fan

                  1. re: hargau
                    justbeingpolite Feb 5, 2010 03:06 PM


                    1. re: hargau
                      KWagle Nov 19, 2010 12:35 PM

                      The fish with celery is probably the 香辣 (xiang la) fish, if it's coated in something and fried to be crispy. I like it; it's similar to the awesome 干锅 fish I get in Framingham, but doesn't approach awesomeness. The 干锅 fish is the single reason I still drive out to the Framingham location--it's that good.

                      (It's also on the menu at "Thailand Cafe" and "New Shanghai" but you might have to read the Chinese to find it. Since their versions are satisfying enough to me, I'd say it's the dish, not the specific preparation, that I like so much.)

                    2. re: justbeingpolite
                      Spike Feb 7, 2010 01:44 PM

                      The bowl of hell (jing gu fish) at the Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica is awesome...hottest sichuan dish I've had around here if you want to try the equivalent of the East Coast Grill's Hell night. No need to ask the chef at this place to stop being a wuss and make it extra spicy either ;-)

                      Also definitely try the double cooked fish fillets at Sichuan Garden in Woburn...great sweet/spicy flavor that makes me want to have it again (just had it today). The normal version isn't that spicy, but if you want more flavor, definitely tell the chef to stop being a wuss and make it extra spicy :-)
                      I'm sure it's not tilapia too...we were trying to figure out what it is...almost has the texture of haddock or something smooth and delicate.

            2. h
              hargau Feb 5, 2010 06:55 AM

              If its a large crowd i would say sichuan garden only because of the space. You could get a private room/area. Bilerica is a small very tight/crowded room

              2 Replies
              1. re: hargau
                nasilemak Feb 5, 2010 07:10 AM

                It will be a small party of five. Is the quality of the food very similar at both spots?

                1. re: nasilemak
                  hargau Feb 5, 2010 07:18 AM

                  I have only been to Sichuan Garden in Woburn 4-5 times and have been to Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica dozens and dozens of times so its hard to give an honest opinion. Woburn may seem exciting to us because we are still exploring the menu which is more new and exciting. I have never got anything that i didnt like at either.

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